Quilt Types

Album Quilt – A quilt assembled from individual blocks, each designed and/ or executed by a different person.  Album blocks are appliquéd or pieced (or both), and frequently stitched into a quilt by a group for presentation to a public figure to commemorate a special occasion.  In the past, blocks often were signed and dated by the maker in India ink or embroidery.  Today, special markers are available for signing.

Amish Quilt – Quilts done in the style of the Amish.  Usually solid materials in deep hues.  Patterns tend to be geometric with intense, heavy quilting, often feathers, scrolls, cables.

Baltimore Album Quilt – A style of album quilt, named for quilts made in Eastern Maryland between 1844 and 1855 featuring ornate appliqué and embroidery blocks.

Bargello Quilt – Quilts made up of off-set squares of color in a rising or falling pattern.  Strips of different fabrics are sewn together, then cut into smaller segments, and pieced together in a style in which there are “waves” or geometric patterns in the design.

Broderie perse Quilt – From the French for “Persian embroidery”, a quilt made up of blocks using a technique in which a printed motif, usually a flower or animal, is cut from fabric and appliquéd into a plain background.

Cathedral Window Quilt – A quilt made of a particular quilt block that makes use of fabric folding to reveal an inner window of a different fabric.

Charm Quilt –  A quilt made up of “block” units that are all the same shape/size but all different fabrics.  The pieces are generally small (less than 5″, but most commonly 2″ or less) and are common themes for fabric swaps.

Crazy Quilt – A term used for quilts that are made up of “crazy pieced” blocks.  That is, scraps of all different types of fabric, shapes and sizes are sewn to a background fabric using decorative stitches to join the seams and embroidery to decorate.  Pattern pieces are usually irregularly shaped.  Crazy quilts were popluar in the Victorian age when young girls pieced together these quilts to display their sewing an embroidery skills.  Often times, the ornate stitching is what makes the quilt stand out from other quilts.  Velvets and silks were often used.

English Paper Pieced Quilt – A quilt made up of blocks using a method of hand quilting in which paper templates are used to help turn under the seam allowances.  Papers are generally left in the quilt top until all pieces have been joined together, and then removed for future use.

Eye Spy Quilt – The style of quilt in which novelty prints are fussy cut and assembled randomly in pairs to create a “memory game” style quilt for a child.  Common block styles are hexagon, triangle, or just squares.

Foundation Pieced Quilt – A quilt put together with blocks made by a method of assembling a quilt block by sewing pieces to a foundation of muslin or other fabric.  This adds stability to delicate fabrics as well as stabilizing bias.  This method is also sometimes used in “Crazy” quilts.

Foundation Paper Pieced Quilt – A quilt put together with blocks made by a method of using a pattern that has previously been drean on a piece of paper, as a guide for constructing a quilt block.  The fabric pieces are sewn right onto the paper using the dreawn lines as a guide.  Great for piecing complicated blocks and miniature blocks.  Also know as just “paper piecing”.

Freezer Paper Appliqué Quilt – A quilt put together with blocks made by a method of appliqué in which a piece is drawn onto the dull side of freezer paper, and then ironed onto the wrong side of the fabric.  The seam allowances can then be eased to the backside of the piece using the freezer paper as a guide.  The freezer paper is then removed after the piece is sewn to its neighbour, or to its background foundation.  (Freezer paper is used by butchers to wrap meat and can be found at most grocery stores in the paper section.  Most common brand is Reynolds in a blue box and white in colour.)

Friendship Quilt – Similar to an album quilt, blocks are made up of signatures and are then sewn together into one quilt.

Hawaiian Appliqué Quilt – A quilt put together with blocks made by a method of appliqué by which large floral shaped, solid-color pieces are stitched onto a white background.  This method was developed by Hawaiian native quilters.

Log Cabin Quilt – Perhaps one of the most popular and traditional quilt (and my personal favourite), this quilt is put together with blocks made by starting with a red or yellow center square to represent the hearth, fire or center of the home, that is then surrounded by long, narrow strips also known as logs.  These logs are usually sewn on in an orderly fashion, moving clockwise around the center square with each strip addition.  Commonly, the strips start with two light scale strips of the same material on one side and move onto two medium scale strips of the same material on the other side, thus continueing around the block in the same direction so that the strips will become darker as the strips move to the outer sides of the block.  Variations come in different width sizes of strips, strips cut on angles, different types of blocks such as: courthouse steps and pineapple block and many different ways of arranging these blocks to create the finished quilt in a pleasing pattern.  Usually blocks are a finished 12″ size.  However, making smaller blocks such as 8″ or 6″ blocks allows for a wider variety of eye pleasing arrangements.  As the popularity of the log cabin block seems not to diminish with time, many quilters have written books on how to change up this traditional block into different variations to create new and wonderfull creations.

Medallion Quilt – A quilt put together with a large central block or patterned area, defined in some way by space or a border.  The center is often a large square on point.

Memory Quilt – A quilt made up of blocks to commemorate an occasion.  Common Memory Quilt themes:  Wedding, Retirement, Birthday.  The individual quilt blocks can be made up of signature blocks, direct printed photo blocks, theme related blocks etc.

Miniature Quilt – These are quilts made on a much smaller scale than a full sized quilt.  Blocks tend to be 2″ to 3″ large.  Paper piecing is a common method to use for miniature quilts.  These quilts also make great wall hangings or doll quilts for small children/grandchildren, sometimes using the same pattern on the doll quilt as was used on the child’s bed quilt, only in a smaller pattern.

Mystery Quilt – A quilt pattern, that is released to the recipients or participants, step by step, to hide the final appearance of the finished quilt.  Often instructions will be given in scale and quantities of material to purchase for blocks and borders.

Patchwork Quilt – This type of quilt generally refers to the process of combining fabric pieces together to make patches that then get sewn together to make quilt blocks to form a quilt top.  There are numerous different styles, patterns and combinations of variations; each with its own look, some more complex than others depending on quilting ability.  Most popular types of patchwork patterns are:  traditional square such as nine-patch or double nine-patch, squares in an image such as bear claw or barn raising. and hexagon.  The main cosideration of any patchwork quilt is that you don’t have similar colours too close together.

Penny Squares Quilt – These types of quilts are generally made up of muslin quilt blocks where a small simple design or pattern for embroidery has been marked onto the block.  These blocks were popular in the late 1800’s and later.  They cost one cent each and the look was similar to the redwork patterns popular later.

Postage Stamp Quilt – Similar to the Charm Square Quilt, this quilt is made up of small pieces all the same size, approximately, of a postage stamp.

Quillow – A unique quilt that folds into a square pocket on the back to form a pillow that is popular with children and adults alike of all ages as an ideal device when you want to wrap up or need something soft to lay down your head for a few moments.  Quillows, usually the size of lap quilts, are a rather unique combination of the concepts of a quilt and a sleeping bag.  Just as quilts are designed to offer warmth and protection from the cold, the quillow is also lined and filled to keep out the cooler weather, making it ideal for camping trips or even as a head rest while watching television.  Quillows became quite the rage when I was younger and continue to be popular with groups providing Quillows as donations to children through Charities and to Children’s Hospitals and Hospices around the world.

Rag Quilt – A flannelette quilt made with the seams left out on the front of the quilt and then cut and washed to “fluff” them up.

Redwork Quilt – These quilts were popular in the 20’s and 30’s and were made up of quilt blocks with simple embroidery designs worked in running stitch in either turkey red colour or blue colour (Bluework).  Blocks were embroidered using red thread in traditional animals, children, nature, and kitchen themes.

Reverse Appliqué Quilt – Blocks used in this quilt use a method of appliqué in which the top piece of fabric is cut away to reveal the background fabric underneath.  The raw edges are turned under and finished as in any appliqué method.

Round Robin Quilt – A popular swap amongst a group of quilters to create one quilt for the group or a quilt for each group member.  A small piece of a quilt or quilt block is started by each group member, then sent to the next member who adds on to it, then it moves to the next and so on.  When the swap is complete, each group member has back the original piece with additions of everyone else in the group, resulting in either a quilt for each group member, or enough blocks to make a group quilt.

Sampler Quilt – A popular “beginner” style quilt, in which each block of the quilt top is a different design or style, in order to give experience in as many different learning possibilities as availibility of different quilt blocks.

Scrap Quilt – Typically, a quilt made up of many, different fabrics.  Commonly “scraps” of fabric left over from other quilt projects are used.  Swaps are commonly held to give each participant enough different fabric to have a “srappy” feel to their quilt project.  Traditionally scrap quilts in the 1800’s and early 1900’s were made for bedding and generally used old worn and discarded clothing such as Uncle Fred’s pajama shirt, Aunt Suzie’s apron, Frederika’s school dress. Jimmy’s jeans and some leftover curtain material etc.

Seminole Quilt – Devised by the Seminole Indians of Florida, this type of quilt is made by sewing strips of fabric together, then cut into segments and re-sewn to create intricate geometric designs.  This technique is often used for quilt borders or quilted clothing.

Shadow Appliqué Quilt – This type of quilt is made up of blocks using the appliqué method with a see-through fabric such as silk organza or polyester netting to shade or shadow the image.  The transparency of the fabric give a different colour look to the areas covered by the see-through fabric.

Stack and Whack Quilt – Bethany Reynolds is commonly credited for the method used in creating kaleidoscope style blocks using repeats in fabric to make the blocks for this type of quilt.

Stained Glass Quilt – A style of quilt meant to resemble a real stained glass window pane.  That is, pieces of glass joined together with some type of leading, usually copper.  In the quilt the pieces are often vibrant hand dyed or batik pieces of fabrics, sewn together and the seams then covered with black bias tape to represent the leading.

Story Quilt – My own invention based on the “Eye Spy” quilts, this is a style of quilt in which novelty prints are fussy cut and assembled randomly in single pieces to create a “bedtime story telling opportunity” for the child and parents/ siblings or sitters.  There are no common block styles as pieces are all different shapes and sizes, sometimes with borders and sometimes without in order to be able to peice together squares into a final rectangle of a pre-determined quilt size.

String Pieced Quilt – Similar to crazy quilting, in this type of quilt, the process starts by randomly joining similarly sized pieces of fabric or scraps together to form a larger piece of fabric, which is then either joined together with another string pieced fabric strip, or cut into smaller pieces for squares or appliqué, ultimately all sewn together to create the quilt top.

Strip Pieced Quilt – Blocks for this type of quilt are made up of “strip sets” (a name given to the pieces that make up strip piecing) that are sewn together starting from alternating ends, thus creating fairly straight finished strips, which are then cut into individual blocks/ squares and sewn back together again to create larger blocks/ squares.  One of the most common patterns for this method is “rail fence” or possibly “trip around the world”.

Summer Quilt – A quilt made up of only two layers, namely the quilt top and backing.  Commonly used in the hotter months of the summer.

Utility Quilt – This name is given to simple quilts, often tied, that are made ot use for everyday bedding.

Wall Hanging Quilt – A small quilt usually made specifically for displaying on a wall.

Watercolor Quilt – A quilt made up of many,many small squares (usually only 1″ or 2′ in size), sewn together to create a new design in the quilt top.  Overall impression of the quilt is that of an Impressionistic Painting.

Whole Cloth Quilt – A quilt made from a quilt top that is one whole piece fo fabric elaborately quilted using various quilting styles, such as trapunto.

One Response to Quilt Types

  1. Monique says:

    My Grandmother did a lot of quilting, Grandpa even helped her. Thank you, these quilt names and descriptions really bring back memories!

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